LED UVB...something to watch

smaugthebeardie3756

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Smaug
So I came across something interesting in another forum, the VivTech LED UVB. After a quick Google search, it appears ZooMed has also released a version that is a more linear type. They are very low energy (as all LEDs are) and supposedly last up to 4 years. They are also very expensive with the VivTech one running about 80 US and the ZooMed about 200. I saw the VivTech mentioned in another thread here but there wasn't much information at the time and the discussion died out. I cam across a little more thorough discussion on another forum, including a link to an article that had some input from Dr. Frances Baines, one of the leading experts in reptile UVB and d3. I wasn't able to open the article myself unfortunately, but someone posted a summary of her thoughts on it.

"So for the natural self-limiting process to occur, preventing excess and potentially damaging levels of vitamin D3 formation, a full spectrum from shortwavelength
UVB around 295nm, right up to UVA around 335nm is needed. These lamps do not provide this.
....
Looking to the Future
In my opinion this lamp needs improvement before it can replace high quality UVB fluorescent tubes in reptile husbandry. At present, my research suggests that no commercially available LEDs exist with a stable, suitable irradiance to fill in in the “missing” wavelengths in that short-wavelength UVA region between 320nm and about 340nm. However, there is no doubt that in time they will be developed, and a way found to create a much more “sunlike” spectrum. With the inevitable phasing-out of lamps using mercury, and increasing concern with improving electrical efficiency, fluorescent tubes will eventually become obsolete and it seems likely that LEDs will take their place. Should these short-wavelength UVA LEDS be developed, and incorporated in lamps such as this, the future could be bright in more ways than one."

So we are missing some critical UVA that could possibly impact how the dragon regulates its d3. In other words this will allow for production of d3, but maybe not proper regulation to prevent d3 toxicity.

I will definitely be sticking with my T5 for now, but it is something I will absolutely be keeping an eye on. The discussion I saw is actually on a chameleon forum, so I wanted to have one here for discussion on how this might affect our dragons specifically. I think my view will be that when Arcadia releases one, I'll be more comfortable that it's viable.
 

xp29

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Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
I have seen the ZooMed but I'm extremely skeptical. Especially of ZooMed. I started a thread on my experience with them. (Not the LED type) If you get a chance looks the the video. I am moving away from the ZooMed hood and switching to Arcadia.
I think I will be sticking to the t5 as well.
That is the link with the video. Since December 3 out of 4 ZooMed hoods failed. The rolling light was only visible in the camera, not a hint with the naked eye. The 2 new Arcadia lights don't do it and the 2nd ZooMed doesn't.
 

smaugthebeardie3756

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Smaug
I have seen the ZooMed but I'm extremely skeptical. Especially of ZooMed. I started a thread on my experience with them. (Not the LED type) If you get a chance looks the the video. I am moving away from the ZooMed hood and switching to Arcadia.
I think I will be sticking to the t5 as well.
That is the link with the video. Since December 3 out of 4 ZooMed hoods failed. The rolling light was only visible in the camera, not a hint with the naked eye. The 2 new Arcadia lights don't do it and the 2nd ZooMed doesn't.
Yeah I saw that thread and the video. It really is weird. I've seen the flickering that shows up on camera sometimes, but never rolling like that. I have a ZooMed hood and haven't had any problems with it so far. I have noticed that every ZooMed basking light I've ever gotten has blown out extremely fast. I also don't like that they market red lights and calcium sand and such as being good for beardies, even putting them on the packages. That is irresponsible in my book.

I will say after looking into this, I think Dr. Baines is correct. This is the future of reptile lighting, but for the time being it seems it is still just that, the future. Hopefully the near future though. I'm cautiously optimistic about it.
 

xp29

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Zen , Ruby ,Snicker Doodles, Sweet Pea, Sinatra
Same, Led's are low power consumption and last a long time. I'm just going to wait till i know it works good.
I also agree about the calci-sand and red lights, it propagates miss information.
 

smaugthebeardie3756

Hatchling Member
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Beardie name(s)
Smaug
Did a little further digging and found this video on YouTube that I'll link at the bottom. It's an episode of the Animals at Home podcast with John Courteney-Smith from Arcadia. The overall topic is bioactivity and bioactive enclosures and what that actually means vs naturalistic. Really good information throughout the episode, but at about 38 minutes he starts talking specifically about UVB LED lights. He gets into some very technical info such as specific wavelengths of light and how it compares to natural sun. I'll summarize as best I can here, but it really is worth a watch. Basically he says somewhat similar to Dr. Baines, that there are big gaps in the higher wavelength UVB and into the UVA spectrum, which as he describes it essentially removes the brakes on d3 production, so the animal will produce d3 ad infinitum with no way to regulate or stop it, leading to hypervitaminosis. They also produce large amounts of lower spectrum UVC (250-290 nm). The other issue he expressed is that they can trick the Solarmeter that measures UVI and make you think it's safe, but it has dangerous levels outside of the spectrum that meter measures. The same is true if you use a UVC meter. The dangerous levels are outside the spectrum the meter measures, so it gives a false reading that it's safe. He finishes by saying that the tech just isn't there for it to be possible to have LEDs mimic true sunlight yet, and he estimates at least five more years (although the video is about a year old, so that may have changed since then). He did say that Arcadia is working on it and has a few trials that are looking "favorable," and that when it is possible and shown to be safe, Arcadia will be the first one to put out a product. For now, he still says T5 is the best out there.

Animals at Home podcast with John Courteney-Smith interview
 

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